Pushes for board diversity have existed for years, but with California regulation as well as regulation in other countries focused on gender diversity, boards need to understand more than ever the pros and cons of diversity in the boardroom.
A recent Corporate Board Member article pointed out that Berkshire Hathaway’s board is anything but independent and diverse; yet, the company performs well. In this session, we challenge the notion that diversity is a panacea for better board performance. We discuss the pros and cons of diversity in the boardroom. We also question “Diversity of What?” by asking why gender and ethnicity and not age, industry expertise, nationality? Panelists will provoke what we hope to be a rich dialogue with attendees.
Les is Chairman and CEO of Sarr Group. Previously, he was a Managing Director and Head of Investor Relations of CCMP Capital Advisors. Les also founded Hamilton Lane, the world’s leading Private Equity advisory and management firm. He is currently Chairman of Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. and CDK Global, Inc., and Lead Director of Merck & Co., Inc. He serves on the Board of Corning Incorporated, NXT Capital, and is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly, he was Chair of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. and Chair and board member of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Dr. Amy Hillman is the Charles J. Robel Dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, has been elected to be President of the Academy of Management in 2022, and is a Founding Fellow of the International Corporate Governance Society. She chairs the Nominating & Governance Committee of CDK Global, Inc. She serves on the non-profit boards of AACSB, the Academy of Management and the ASU Research Park.
Ms. Birch is an independent public company director and a veteran C-level operating executive with deep experience in the consumer sector.
Ms. Birch currently serves as a director for Forrester Research (NASDAQ:FORR), one of the most influential research and advisory firms working globally with business and technology leaders to develop customer-obsessed strategies that drive growth. At Forrester, she chairs the Audit Committee.
In addition, Ms. Birch serves on the board of CorePoint Lodging Inc. (NYSE:CPLG), a U.S. lodging REIT strategically focused on ownership of midscale and upper-midscale select-service hotels. Ms. Birch serves on the Audit and Nom/Gov Committees.
In 2019, Ms. Birch joined the board of Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK), an operator and franchisor of one of the nation’s largest hamburger restaurant chains with more than 2200 locations. Ms. Birch serves on the Compensation and Nom/Gov Committees.
From 2015 until 2019, Ms. Birch served on the board of directors for Papa Murphy’s Inc. (NASDAQ:FRSH), a Take ‘n’ Bake pizza company, where she held the position of Board Chair from September 2016 until May 2019 - when the company was successfully sold to MTY Food Group. In addition, Ms. Birch was Papa Murphy’s interim President and Chief Executive Officer from December 2016 to July 2017.
Previously Ms. Birch has served on the board of Darden (NYSE:DRI), during which time the real estate was successfully spun out into a publicly traded REIT (Four Corners Property Trust) and Cosi, Inc. (NASDAQ:COSI),
Ms. Birch is a Board Leadership Fellow, as certified by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and was named to the 2017 NACD Corporate Directorship 100.
Ms. Birch currently serves on the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Board. She and her husband Jerry reside in Scottsdale, AZ.